What’s The Story Behind Your Souvenirs?

Every souvenir tells a story. Every keychain or coffee mug means something, whether a memory of a mighty experience or a tangible reminder of a foolish impulse.

When the youth group I lead embarked upon our very first international mission trip to Jamaica, I knew I needed a special souvenir to bring home. When we went shopping on our final day, I spotted this bowl.

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I wanted something in my office I could look at each day as a reminder of the incredible journey God sent me on that week.

What I thought I was getting was an authentic piece of Jamaica craftsmanship. When I got home and unpacked, I realized I had something else. Continue reading

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The Two Ways To Respond To Interruptions

“Not today.”

Wednesday night I was ready to go. I was in the zone for my usual Wednesday activities as Youth Pastor at The Hill. My lesson was memorized. Everything was in place for our game. The slides were set for the keynote. I was all prepared for kids to start showing up around 3:30.

And then the kids showed up with this:

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A stray dog. “Oh no,” I thought, “Not today.” Continue reading

Your Scars Tell Your Story

Every scar has a story – just not necessarily a good one.

slide.001I might have the dumbest scar you’ve ever seen. Each year my school had a ceremony honoring the top students. In the 6th grade I got called out of class early along with my friend Kevin to go to this Honors Night practice.

I was pretty excited about the privilege. Well, at least the getting out of class part. As Kevin and I headed toward the practice, I pushed open the door outside with a joyful burst of strength.

What I didn’t count on as I used all of my force was the force of the door as it swung back. Just as quickly as I had flung it open the door bounced off the wall and slammed back into me, crushing my glasses right into my face. Continue reading

What Do You Doubt?

Doubt is a pain too lonely to know that faith is his twin brother. – Khalil Gibran, poet

What do you doubt about God? If you have any faith in God, you surely wrestle with doubt as well.

In a world where innocent Marathon runners and spectators become terrorist victims one day and innocent plant workers become victims of an explosion the next, doubt creeps in about a loving God.

What kind of God does this to His people? What hope is there in this world? What do we have to cling to?

The doubt in our heart is nothing new. The stains of doubt are never fully washed from our cup no matter how powerful our faith is. For as long as people have had faith they have wrestled against doubt.

482376_858133227665_1363584939_nTake Thomas for instance – the doubting disciple. For the past few weeks I’ve been rehearsing for a play called “Eight Days After”. The play is an exploration into the mysterious appearances of Jesus after His resurrection and how they affected the people He once knew. Continue reading

Win Or Go Home

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Win or go home.

It’s the mantra that will be in the head of every NCAA Basketball player as the annual March Madness tournament begins this morning.

If you don’t win the next game then you’re done. You’re heading home; there’s nothing left for you.

“Going home” is usually equivalent to losing. Only losers go home; winners keep on playing. Winners do not retreat. Continue reading